The United Nations has said that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020, due to the complete economic blockade imposed by Israel. One of the most severe daily impacts of the blockade on Gaza’s 1.8 million inhabitants is the lack of clean water.
“The doctor told us to not drink the tap water in our house--it is not safe. But what other option do we have?” says Khawla Ma'arouf, a mother of seven. Since Israel’s blockade began, the water in Gaza has been filled with minerals and bacteria, as many of the parts needed to repair and maintain Gaza’s water and sewage infrastructure are prohibited.
The parasites and other contaminants often make Ma’arouf’s children sick, but bottled water is expensive and often the family, like most of Gaza’s residents, cannot afford to purchase it.
MCC photo/Mostafa Al Naffar
Ma’arouf used to make tasty juices to sell to her neighbours, but she can no longer do that as the water is too polluted. “It tastes like salt,” she says. Gaza’s intermittent electricity supply also means that water does not get pumped into her house every day. What little does arrive is not enough to do the daily tasks of washing dishes, cooking, bathing and washing hands.
Despite the daily challenges, Ma’arouf continues to strive for her family’s well-being. She dreams that they will one day be able to live like any other family, with basic rights and dignity.
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Other stories in this series:
The food is ruined